August 11, 2006

VUSM dean to helm accreditation committee

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Steven Gabbe, M.D.

VUSM dean to helm accreditation committee

VUSM Dean Steven Gabbe, M.D., has been elected to co-chair the Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME), which is the body charged by the U.S. Department of Education with accrediting all medical schools in the United States and Canada that award the doctor of medicine degree.

Gabbe, a committee member for the past three years, became the co-chair on July 1 along with Ronald Franks, M.D., dean of Medicine and vice president for Health Affairs at East Tennessee State University.

The 18-member committee includes six members from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), six from the American Medical Association (AMA), two from the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools, two senior medical students and two members of the public.

“This is a very important responsibility and it is a great honor to be asked to be one of the co-chairs,” Gabbe said.

“The LCME conducts site visits to medical schools that are being reviewed for accreditation. Our committee reviews all of the reports from those site visits and makes decisions about the accreditation of medical schools throughout the country.

“I think we'll have a number of important areas that we will be focusing on in the coming years. One is that the AAMC originally asked medical schools to grow by 15 percent and, now, 30 percent.”

Gabbe said there is concern from the AAMC, among others, as to whether there will be enough doctors to take care of a population that is living longer and growing exponentially.

If recommended enrollment in U.S. medical schools did grow by 30 percent that would be around 5,000 new doctors a year.

Gabbe said he anticipates the LCME will be receiving requests for growth from many existing schools in addition to requests for new medical schools that will need to be reviewed.

“We know there are plans to have two new medical schools in California and two in Florida and that is just the start, so we will be busy with those as well,” he said.

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